Indonesia is a wonderful place to visit with kids. A land of mystery and beauty, it’s filled with welcoming people, a wonderful food culture, and historic sites to rival any place in the world. Where to go? Yogyakarta is one of Indonesia’s most-visited cities. The capital city of the Yogyakarta Special Region in Central Java, Yogyakarta can also be known interchangeably as Jogjakarta or Jogja. The area around this city is rich in UNESCO heritage, and families should allow at least three days to explore the highlights.
Where to stay: The Hotel Tentrem Yogyakarta provides a central, comfortable place for families today. Check it out at http://www.traveloka.com to get further details. Once settled in, head to the following top attractions:
The Sultan’s Palace:
Also called the Kraton, the palace is possibly the most visited attraction in Yogyakarta. To get here, you can hire a rickshaw driver. Start early in the day to beat the heat. Be sure to check out the Taman Sari water palace as well, which was the sultan’s holiday palace in the 1700s. Be sure to allot most of a day to check it all out (see photo below).
Ancient temples of Prambanan and Borobudur:
These two temples are both located in the city, and by visiting both, you can see the main streets and alleys of Java, try Javanese food, and truly experience the culture of the area. Families will see plenty of other tourists here, but it’s definitely possible to find your own little cafes and street vendors.
The Prambanan Temple is one of the Indonesia UNESCO World Heritage Sites, being one of the largest Hindu temple architecture in Southeast Asia. Yes, it’s well known, built in the 9th century, but the compound lies just 18km east of Yogyakarta and can be easily reached with the Transjogja public bus, which is by far the cheapest and best option to visit Prambanan. Showing kids UNESCO sites can be a world-changing experience: they truly can grasp the magnitude of the history and architecture around them. Don’t skip UNESCO sites with kids!
Ruins to Mount Merapi:
This volcanic mountain is a must do with adventurous teens and older kids. The hike toward Mount Merapi is short, but difficult. (The most recent eruption was in 2010.) While it’s become a tourist draw in recent years, the views are absolutely stunning from the top. If desired, there are tours that take you to Mt Merapi for a hiking day trip from Yogakarta, though families can definitely do it solo.
This temple is technically not in Yogyakarta but many will definitely do this day trip (only 1 hour drive from Yogyakarta to Borobudur). You may also join the many tours to Borobudur and Prambanan temples in a day. We think it’s worth the trip, as once again, this 9th-century temple is an Indonesia UNESCO Heritage site. It’s also one of the largest Buddhist temple in the world, consisting of six square platforms with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha status.